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M2
01-13-2006, 03:38 PM
The Steelers have been nothing more than "respectable" the last several decades. As has the entire Midwest in all sports outside of Detroit (Pistons & RWs) and Chicago (Bulls), St. Louis (Cards) and to a lesser degree Green Bay--the last 20 years or so.

The southern and western flight of citizenry's a bummer. The Midwest used to be home to great teams; not really so anymore (outside of the cities listed above).

The last twenty years of Steelers' fandom is hardly chest-puffing material. But even less so Browndom or Bengaldom.

They still own their yard/division. Everytime someone tries to steal it from them, they take it back. Obviously the Patriots have seized the AFC in recent years and I'm sure they've caused Steelers fans no small amount of grief, but Steelers fans have had the luxury of watching other teams come and go while they stick around. The Raiders have fallen apart. The Dolphins fell apart. The Bills came and went. The Oilers had two runs and the Titans had one. The Browns had a short run in the '80s and the Raven's had a short run to start the century. Pretty much the only AFC club that's been consistently good like the Steelers over the past 30 years is the Broncos.

Falls City Beer
01-13-2006, 04:09 PM
They still own their yard/division. Everytime someone tries to steal it from them, they take it back. Obviously the Patriots have seized the AFC in recent years and I'm sure they've caused Steelers fans no small amount of grief, but Steelers fans have had the luxury of watching other teams come and go while they stick around. The Raiders have fallen apart. The Dolphins fell apart. The Bills came and went. The Oilers had two runs and the Titans had one. The Browns had a short run in the '80s and the Raven's had a short run to start the century. Pretty much the only AFC club that's been consistently good like the Steelers over the past 30 years is the Broncos.

Well, I was sort of setting my clock back to the collapse of the Steel Curtain.

Titles? Zilch. Kings of the AFC North? Even Lilliput had an Emperor.

The story of the NFL over the last twenty-five years goes something like this: San Fran, Dallas, Giants, Denver, Patriots.

Sure some guys squeaked in a time or two--but that's roughly the tale of the tape.--Heck, the AFC didn't really become a factor in the sport again until the turn of the century.

M2
01-13-2006, 04:42 PM
The story of the NFL over the last twenty-five years goes something like this: San Fran, Dallas, Giants, Denver, Patriots.

Sure some guys squeaked in a time or two--but that's roughly the tale of the tape.--Heck, the AFC didn't really become a factor in the sport again until the turn of the century.

IMO the Redskins deserve to be on that list more than the Giants. They sure as shooting won more.

Yeah, Pittsburgh's only got a fiefdom these days, but it's well-respected in the House of Lords and it beats the snot out of being a serf. At the very least, Pittsburgh's usually in the thick of things when there's a war of succession.

Tony Cloninger
01-13-2006, 05:27 PM
The one constant of those PITT teams over the CIN teams is defense.

MB can talk all he wants about needing a franchise QB...and having CP shows that 1 player can lift a franchise and make it better than just avg. or okay.

BUT it is defense....year in/year out...that has made PITT a winner with mediocre to bad crap... like Mark Malone in the middle 80's.

Despite the fact the Bengals had better talent than PITT... they made the playoffs from 81-90... 4 times.

PITT with basically a below avg QB every year from 1983 (Bradshaw threw 3-4 passes then retired)......through 1990.. made the playoffs... the same amount of times as did the Bengals.

MB...... please forget about being $10M under the cap...and spend on a defense that can win games for you, instead of merely holding them for you so CP can win them.

Falls City Beer
01-13-2006, 05:30 PM
IMO the Redskins deserve to be on that list more than the Giants. They sure as shooting won more.

Yeah, Pittsburgh's only got a fiefdom these days, but it's well-respected in the House of Lords and it beats the snot out of being a serf. At the very least, Pittsburgh's usually in the thick of things when there's a war of succession.

Sure, Pittsburgh's avoided sucking; they've even been pretty good a time or two in that time span--but nothing to thump one's chest over, frankly.

M2
01-14-2006, 12:51 AM
Sure, Pittsburgh's avoided sucking; they've even been pretty good a time or two in that time span--but nothing to thump one's chest over, frankly.

Pittsburgh's a consistent brand, it plays gladiator football. In a macho sport, a big part of it involves putting another guy on his backside. Pittsburgh delivers on that more often than not. Even when the team gets eliminated, Steelers fans get to look back at a swath of carnage.

They've been to the playoffs 10 times in Cowher's 14 seasons, won their division eight times in that stretch and have a .632 winning % in those season. That the most wins of anyone in the AFC over that time, not bad suck avoidance. Are they a bit too Atlanta Braves? Sure, winning the big one would be in order. Yet if you root for a team that's constantly at the front of the pack and physically dominates its opponents in the process, I say you've got full permission to undo an extra button on your shirt.

TeamBoone
01-14-2006, 01:03 AM
Does that include Yankee fans?

M2
01-14-2006, 02:27 AM
Does that include Yankee fans?

You bet. What carefree lives they lead. So much joy. So little angst.

I'm married to one, btw ... and she's allowed to undo as many buttons as she likes.

dsmith421
01-14-2006, 03:57 AM
Sure they do. That's exactly what being a fan of a top-tier franchise entitles you to.

I'm authentically curious: what's the point of rooting for anybody besides a 'top-tier' franchise, then?

GAC
01-14-2006, 06:17 AM
You mean like Indy mopped up the Bengals first time around? ;) Now the Squealers got their clock cleaned, but the Bengals match up well with the Colts.

They didn't mop up my Browns either in Indy. ;)

And I thought Indy would destroy us. It was one of the best game (especially coaching-wise) that I saw all year out of the Browns.

Indy pulled it out 13-6 (which good teams will do); but we had two TD's called back for stupid penalties..... an 82-yard punt return by Northcutt for a touchdown called back on Frisman Jackson's illegal block (which was pure BS, and even the announcers said it was), and a TD pass voided by a taunting penalty by rookie WR Edwards (he was guilty, and I wanted to punch him!).

GAC
01-14-2006, 07:11 AM
MILT PAPPAS!!!!!!!!

AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I heard that is what you're having engraved on your tombstone. ;)

GAC
01-14-2006, 07:33 AM
My first sports disappointment of major quality was the Tigers losing to the A's in the 72 Playoffs, devistating.... I still hate the A's... next the 10-10 tie between UM and OSU in 1973 with UM getting locked out of the Bowl picture.

I'm still not over either one.

Brooks Robinson and Baltimore vs the Reds in '70.... and then Gene Tenace and the A's vs the Reds in '72. Their individual performances shall forever stay etched in my feeble mind. My only hope is that old age will finally erase them! :lol:

Others?... coming from a die-hard Brown's fan of 40 years. ;)

Red Right 88 – Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders, AFC Divisional Playoffs, January 4th, 1980

During the 1979-80 season, Brian Sipe could do no wrong, and either could the rest of the Kardiac Kids. Sipe, the southern Californian quarterback who somehow managed to fit in as if he’d lived in Cleveland his whole life, led comeback after comeback on his way to an NFL MVP season. To be fair, the Browns lost their share of close games that year too, but no one remembers those games after a season like they had. Down 14-12 on a windy day so cold even Sipe’s relatives in California could feel the breeze, the Browns were a pooch FG away from another amazing comeback for the ages, with time for one more shot at the end zone and the only sure victory. During a final timeout, legend has it Browns coach Sam Rutigliano told Sipe that if no one was open, he should “throw the ball into Lake Erie”. Seconds later, Sipe wished he had, as Oakland’s Mike Davis became the first of many 1980’s NFL playoff villains in Cleveland.

The Fumble – Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos, January 17th, 1988

What can you really say about this game? A year removed from the first AFC Championship debacle, the Browns found yet another way to lose a close playoff game. In some ways this one was even more painful, as you had a sense the Browns couldn’t possibly get back to this point every year (it would be 13 years before the Eagles would come along and lose three conference championships in a row). The way this game started with Bernie Kosar throwing an INT that appeared to bounce off Webster Slaughter’s helmet, Browns fans had to know this wasn’t going to end well, either. The sad irony here (among many to choose from), is that Earnest Byner was supposed to be the safer alternative to Kevin Mack because he had a lesser penchant to fumble than his backfield mate. Seconds after Byner crossed the Denver goal line and scored the would-be game-tying touchdown without the football, Browns fans everywhere had to be asking themselves,”Who the hell is Jeremiah Castille??” No matter. Castille joined Oakland’s Mike Davis and Denver teammate John Elway on Cleveland 1980’s playoff villain list the moment he stripped Byner of the ball.

The Drive – Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos, January 11th, 1987

This one edges out the The Fumble on the merits of being a more memorable finish, at least on a national level. Many people consider this game to be a young John Elway’s coming-out party (do you see a pattern here?). Although 5:32 is an eternity by today’s pass-happy Peyton standards, in the 1987 season it wasn’t, and the Browns defense seemed incapable of giving up a 98-yard, game-winning drive to anyone. Coach Marty Schottenheimer threw gasoline on the fire by going conservative on defense> Why would you go to a "prevent" defense against John Elway?? The rest of the NFL learned that after watching this game.

D.D. Hoggard pinned the Broncos on their own 2-yard line on the kick-off, did anyone think it would really matter? At one point, facing a 3rd-and-forever, Elway backed up in the shotgun and watched the ball bounce off a teammate‘s leg into his waiting hands. Forget the Vance Johnson TD pass to end The Drive, or the phantom overtime FG kick by the barefoot Rich Karlis, Browns fans should’ve realized the game was over right there.

The (old) Browns last home game, December 17th, 1995.

As painful as many of the games mentioned above may have been, you always had one redeeming thought to fall back on – there’s always next year. But for Browns fans in December, 1995, after decades of history and football tradition in Cleveland, there wasn’t. We were left with a "hollow" victory, memories, and a few anti-Modell signs after the last play of the game.

M2
01-14-2006, 12:47 PM
I'm authentically curious: what's the point of rooting for anybody besides a 'top-tier' franchise, then?

Everybody loves somebody sometimes. I don't root for a single elite American pro sports franchise. The Reds used to be. The Redskins were awfully good for awhile, but I could give a hang about the football these days.

I do root for an elite European soccer club and a fairly elite college hockey team. It's a different sort of vibe knowing that your club is going to win before the season even starts, that the season will be measured by gradients of "how good" and not "if." It's not the only reason to root for a club, but I could sure stand it if the Reds got back to that level.

westofyou
01-14-2006, 12:53 PM
I do root for an elite European soccer club and a fairly elite college hockey team. Rangers/Wings on NBC in 2 hours.

SteelSD
01-14-2006, 03:33 PM
Everybody loves somebody sometimes. I don't root for a single elite American pro sports franchise. The Reds used to be. The Redskins were awfully good for awhile, but I could give a hang about the football these days.

I do root for an elite European soccer club and a fairly elite college hockey team. It's a different sort of vibe knowing that your club is going to win before the season even starts, that the season will be measured by gradients of "how good" and not "if." It's not the only reason to root for a club, but I could sure stand it if the Reds got back to that level.

The majority of my favorite professional sports teams either stink (Penguins, Reds) or are a puzzling mediocrity (Sixers) right now, but I can say that I've at least been able to see a championship from every one of them during my lifetime. By birthright, I should be a Twins, Vikings, T-Wolves, and Wild (North Stars before that) fan. Thank God that, at some point, in my youth randomness trumped location.

The Penguins, although they're ten shades of awful right now, were the most rewarding. I started rooting for them as a kid because they shared the Steelers colors (profound reasoning, I know). Then they drafted Mario Lemieux and, later, Jaromir Jagr. That was fun.

The Erving-led Sixers were a team that, for many years, were part of one of the greatest rivalry "triads" of all time. If you were a Sixers fan, you HATED the Celtics and the Lakers. Boston fans hated the Sixers and Lakers. Lakers fans hated the Sixers and Celtics. Philly, excepting the "Fo-fo-fo" Moses Malone season, came out on the short end of that stick more often than not but it sure was a blast knowing that even if you didn't have to get by one of the three to get to the big dance, you'd get an opponent you truly hated in the Finals.

It was also a blast attending UND (North Dakota) when they had one of the best college hockey teams in history (Ed Belfour, Ian Kidd, Bob Joyce, Tony Hrkac, Murray Baron, etc.). That was truly an experience when you'd walk into the arena. And the only question on your mind was as to the margain of victory.

I feel particularly lucky to have seen so many of the truly great players and seasons from the clubs I've rooted for. And at some point, the expectation with each of those clubs was victory rather than failure. Maybe that's why I feel it's a little comical when a Cubs fan wants to try to tell me what's wrong with the Reds after knowing that I've previously heard him whining about a dude who caught a baseball Moises Alou couldn't.

And the interesting thing is that when you've rooted for teams that have been excellent over time you tend to see as many (or more) key losses as you do important victories. The reason that's interesting to me is that I keep hearing about the "arrogance" of fans who root for consistently excellent franchises. But those same fans are also the most likely to have their hearts ripped out of their chests most often.

M2
01-14-2006, 07:13 PM
The Erving-led Sixers were a team that, for many years, were part of one of the greatest rivalry "triads" of all time. If you were a Sixers fan, you HATED the Celtics and the Lakers. Boston fans hated the Sixers and Lakers. Lakers fans hated the Sixers and Celtics. Philly, excepting the "Fo-fo-fo" Moses Malone season, came out on the short end of that stick more often than not but it sure was a blast knowing that even if you didn't have to get by one of the three to get to the big dance, you'd get an opponent you truly hated in the Finals.

I've always been Sixers/Nuggets split. David Thompson was the bomb.

Just to kindle some jealousy. Dr. J lived fifty yards away from me when I was a kid. I used to wake up early so I could get over to his place, knock on his door and hand him his paper.


It was also a blast attending UND (North Dakota) when they had one of the best college hockey teams in history (Ed Belfour, Ian Kidd, Bob Joyce, Tony Hrkac, Murray Baron, etc.). That was truly an experience when you'd walk into the arena. And the only question on your mind was as to the margain of victory.

I'm told the arena at North Dakota is like Mecca for a hockey fan. Got to see the 1990 NCAA series when Boston U. took out the Sioux. Sick talent on the ice in those games. BU had Tony Amonte, Shawn McEachern, Joe Sacco and Mike Sullivan (the current coach of the Bruins).


And the interesting thing is that when you've rooted for teams that have been excellent over time you tend to see as many (or more) key losses as you do important victories. The reason that's interesting to me is that I keep hearing about the "arrogance" of fans who root for consistently excellent franchises. But those same fans are also the most likely to have their hearts ripped out of their chests most often.

Great point, reminds me of Bruno Kirby in "Spinal Tap" - "When you've loved and lost like Frank has ..."

dsmith421
01-14-2006, 08:24 PM
Interesting and thought-provoking responses from M2 and Steel.

I submit this, though: The two most devastating losses of the last ten years, for me, were Moeller's loss in the 1997 State title game to Canton McKinley, and the Bengals loss last Sunday. The parallel is maybe only obvious to me: in both games, my team's key player was injured in the early going.

For me, the biggest Gut Punch of all is when a team you support finally gets to the cusp of greatness and gets knocked back without having the opportunity to give its best shot. It's absolutely possible that neither team I rooted for deserved to win those games, even at full strength, but the 'what might have beens' hurt a lot worse than a regular 'L'.

RedsBaron
01-14-2006, 08:40 PM
The 1972 World Series loss to Oakland remains my greatest disappointment as a Reds fan. After the Reds great comeback to win the NLCS over the Pirates, a lot of Reds fans, including me, thought the World Series title was assured.

M2
01-14-2006, 08:51 PM
Interesting and thought-provoking responses from M2 and Steel.

I submit this, though: The two most devastating losses of the last ten years, for me, were Moeller's loss in the 1997 State title game to Canton McKinley, and the Bengals loss last Sunday. The parallel is maybe only obvious to me: in both games, my team's key player was injured in the early going.

For me, the biggest Gut Punch of all is when a team you support finally gets to the cusp of greatness and gets knocked back without having the opportunity to give its best shot. It's absolutely possible that neither team I rooted for deserved to win those games, even at full strength, but the 'what might have beens' hurt a lot worse than a regular 'L'.

I can see that, especially an injury to a star player leaving you with the feeling that the team didn't get to take its best shot.

The upside is, if the Bengals are for real, this won't be their only shot and not having Plamer for a game they might have lost anyway might make the team feel cheated and hungry for another postseason taste next season, hopefully with an improved defense.

Arguably, losing the NL West to the Dodgers in 1974 is what it took to pull the BRM together.


The 1972 World Series loss to Oakland remains my greatest disappointment as a Reds fan. After the Reds great comeback to win the NLCS over the Pirates, a lot of Reds fans, including me, thought the World Series title was assured.

Arguably the Reds thought that too and it played a big role in why the got beat by the A's. That's why the '74 division loss was such a shock to the team's system. It was a case of "Hey, we haven't won anything yet and we're moving backward."

Falls City Beer
01-14-2006, 08:58 PM
The upside is, if the Bengals are for real,

I have no way of knowing if the Bengals are for real, but Palmer is. The Bengals can do whatever the hell they want to improve their team in other ways, but absent a great quarterback, they're designed for the short haul. No great teams/dynasties have lacked a great quarterback. Defense wins championships; quarterbacks build dynasties.

GAC
01-14-2006, 09:11 PM
I believe the Bengals are for real. They are still in the "developmental" stage IMO. They just need to improve their defense. Which also includes some of the younger players on that side of the ball showing maturity.

SteelSD
01-14-2006, 09:12 PM
I can see that, especially an injury to a star player leaving you with the feeling that the team didn't get to take its best shot.

Might be even worse if the player in question was the NFL MVP this season.

Or not?

And on the Dr. J thing- I hate you.

Sincerely,

Steel
Uber-Jealous Erving Fan